Jeffrey Lewis’ new album handles like a dream

Joe Llorin, Staff Writer

Just nine months after his last album release of Come On Board, Jeffrey Lewis makes his quick return to the music scene with his seventh studio album A Turn in the Dream-Songs, which is available in stores on Oct. 11.

Aside from performing alone, Lewis often works with his brother Jack Lewis or on his other side projects, including his band Jeffrey Lewis and the Junkyard, with which he has released several EPs and albums in the past. With his solo career and all projects combined Lewis has released 22 albums and EPs.

Lewis’ music categorizes in the genres of indie, garage, punk and anti-folk, a type of music that mocks the seriousness and pretension established in today’s music scene. As opposed to classic folk music, anti-folk artists utilize humor and satire in their musical content. A Turn in the Dream-Songs showcases both the former and the latter genres.

“Lewis’ themes may range from bad acid trips to political history and sex, but there’s an overriding preoccupation that tends towards the life affirming,” according to his official Facebook page.

That statement is proven with the album’s first track, To Go and Return. From the start of the track, the listener is pulled into the calm and serene world of harmonious sound created by flutes, xylophones  and light guitar strumming.

The song’s lyrics dwell in the darker territory of global warming and how society will soon lose its place on the planet if people continue their unsustainable habits.

In Krongu Green Slime, Lewis describes how complex the world has become over the years, and there are lyrics that hint to consumerism. In the song he eventually says that he’s given into it as well, but he believes it is overrated.

In I Got Lost, he speaks of his feeling of being lost in today’s world, with the advances that are made daily technologically and socially.

As the album progresses, one may notice that most of the tracks feature Lewis either telling a personal story in song form or basically rambling, giving the listener a taste of material that several artists use in their music, like Tenacious D or Neutral Milk Hotel.

In Cult Boyfriend, as an example, Lewis describes his music as “cult,” basically saying his music isn’t popular among many but to those who do enjoy his music, it’s to the point where his fans worship him.
Lewis also shares his personal experiences throughout the album. In When You’re By Yourself, Lewis describes common events that happen in life, such as the conversations one has with their waiter when it comes to their food, giving the listener a relatable feeling.

In How Can It Be, he shows his frustration toward the woman he loves, although she’s with someone else.

On the darker side of his music, he shares thoughts of suicide and depression. In So What If I Couldn’t Take It, Lewis offers himself various ways of committing suicide, like “taking a walk to the store looking for a bit of bottled rat poison to score,” but his attempts prove to be futile as they appear to not affect him.

Overall, A Turn in The Dream-Songs is a solid album worth multiple listens. Lewis’ performance has the possibility of reminding viewers of the ability of other artists like Mumford and Sons, Jason Mraz and fellow folk artist Bob Dylan.

The genre of folk itself isn’t very exciting to many, but Jeffrey Lewis shows that not only can it be entertaining, it can also be enriching.

“It’s always been quality not quantity,” as seen in the lyrics to Cult Boyfriend and Lewis showcases both as he continues to write music and do what he loves for his dedicated fans.